Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by CL1, Nov 25, 2013.
Field Marshal The Viscount Alanbrooke Memorial
The longer I live….I thank God that Churchill was given the wisdom to appoint Alanbrooke to be CIGS as then we started to win the war owing to his grasp as the title states of the strategy
of pushing it through despite all objections from some allies….as the Master of Strategy…..even Stalin was impressed and held him in high honour..while lesser brains in high positions just didn't
understand him..no matter how he tried to pull them along…..he must be spinning in his grave to see what is happening to the Army and other services to-day...
Lovely 1957 interview piece from the BBC Archives. Horrocks introduces Trevor roper discussing the Diaries & war with the man himself.:
The Alanbrooke Diaries
A wartime adviser to Churchill, Field Marshal Alanbrooke, discusses his diaries.
As much as I do respect him, I find this statue a bit...hmmm..vain/over the top ?
This "master of strategy" (given that he was a good strategist, doesn't make him a "master" of strategy..is there a university course for it ? ) and then this quaint pose....
Of course he didn't pick this haughty pose himself...but those that did choose this...uuurgh
It 's like the gigantic Michael jackson statue stating "the best artist ever"... too much idolising, a bit less on the respect.
As on so many other subjects, Arnhem, you perhaps need to read up more on Alanbrooke.
If there was a Staff degree course in the UK on Strategy during that period - he'd have been running it (and to many extents he was).
As for the 'haughty pose' and plinth. I can see the man himself being deeply uncomfortable with any such eulogising. I found the above interview while googling for info on the statue, whether it went up in his lifetime, and what he might have thought of it.
And how else does a nation do statues? Statues generally being honorifics erected for good reason? It would hardly say on any plinth 'he was alright really'...
(To give it further context, it's one of, if I recall, three WW2 commander statues set close to each other alongside Monty & Slim (edit: I see Clive has snapped the others). They are in Whitehall, a heart of the nation and an appropriate spot for even mildly bombastic tribute. )
i look forward to you slagging off the Cenotaph itself in your traditional small-minded way, mate. That'd be fun...
If he had to choose a pose for himself I bet he'd have one with a pair of bins out bird-watching .
If given the choice, I don't doubt he'd have rather taken the money and done without a statue so he could buy his bird books back (The ones sold for lack of funds at wars' end? You'd possibly know the title, O - he refers to 'em quite a bit in the Diaries).
vP your are spot on , all in a line,very close to the Cenotaph.
Pathe - Alanbrooke takes a shufti around - 1941
Sound disintegrates after a while, which is a shame. Though I do wonder if recording staff officers might have been a tad frowned upon.
Interesting clip but, as you mentioned, frustrating sound !
In 1947, on my first AJEX Parade he was the reviewing officer and about 12,000 of us marched past him at Horseguards.
Did you watch the BBC Interview, Ron? I'd guess it might be quite interesting for you chaps who were sent around the world based on the thoughts expressed.
Brooke On stalin:
Alanbrooke's Dinner Party Test
WW2 Behind closed doors
I'm still trying to get his war diaries (cheap on ebay.co.uk, but still expensive on the continent)...and the bbc clip doesn't work outside UK it seems..
but I found this text which actually surprised me...(being the master strategist);
According to Max Hastings, Brooke’s reputation as a strategist was “significantly damaged” by his remarks at the Trident conference in Washington in May 1943, where he claimed that no major operations on the continent would be possible until 1945 or 1946.
What if Alanbrooke was allied supreme commander instead of Eisenhower ?.. No Normandy invasion until 1945 ? to be meeted by the soviets in Caen ?
and what about this "Brooke admired Stalin for his quick brain and grasp of military strategy."
The stand ground - no retreat order ? Invasion of Finland ? I think alenbrooke is the only one to call Stalin smart in military strategy..not even his soviet top commanders would subscribe to that. (in their private diaries).
So, nobody is perfect.
Alanbrooke diaries, 19 May 1943, Combined Chiefs of Staff meeting during Trident conference"Our conclusions are that we are to prepare some 29 divisions for entry into France early in 1944"
I've found many internet reference to "According to Max Hastings, Brooke’s reputation as a strategist was “significantly damaged” by his remarks at the Trident conference in Washington in May 1943, where he claimed that no major operations on the continent would be possible until 1945 or 1946." but can't find the source?
Arnhem. When you lay hands on the Diaries (Abebooks worth a look, make sure it's the full diaries rather than Bryant's interpretation), you will see that the relationship with Ike was complex, and maybe more of a joint effort than is often stated (he was disappointed not to be supreme command, but appears to understand the political complexities thereof).
What he admired in Stalin, was the arch delegator, the realist, the will. Hardly controversial, as you can despise a Devil, but still admire their dancing.
AJEX have just kindly supplied me with an updated text list of past Reviewing Officers,
1930 General Sir Ian Hamilton
1931 Field Marshal Viscount Allenby GCB, GCMG
1932 General Sir Webb Gillman KCB, CIC Eastern Command
1933 Admiral Sir Roger Keyes GCB, KCVO
1934 Major General Sir Frederick Maurice KCMG,
President British Legion
1935 Sir Archibald A. Montgomery-Massingberd GCB, KCMG
1936 Field Marshal Lord Milne
1937 Major General The Earl of Athlone KG, PC
1938 Field Marshal Lord Birdwood
No parades during the period 1939-1946
1947 Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke
1948 Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham
1949 Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery
1950 Air Marshal Sir William Forster Dickson
1951 General Sir Frederick Pilo
1952 HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
1953 Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis
1954 Marshal of the RAF Lord Tedder
1955 General Sir Gerald Templar
1956 Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma
1957 Marshal of the RAF Sir John Slessor
1958 Lieut. General Sir Brian Horrocks
1959 Admiral of the Fleet Sir Philip Vian
1960 Field Marshal Viscount Slim
1961 Lieut. General Lord Freyberg
1962 General Sir Roy Bucher
1963 General Sir Richard Hull
1964 Major General J A d’Avigdor-Goldsmid
1965 Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fraser of North Cape
1966 Marshal of the RAF Viscount Portal
1967 HRH Princess Alexandra
1968 Marshal of the RAF Sir Charles Elworthy
1969 General Sir Geoffrey Baker
1970 Lieut. General Sir Peter Hellings
1971 Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Hill-Norton
1972 Air Chief Marshal Sir Denis Spotswood
1973 Field Marshal Sir Michael Carver
1974 Major General Sir Francis W de Guingand
1975 Admiral Sir Edward Ashmore
1976 Marshal of the RAF Sir Andrew Humphrey
1977 Marshal of the RAF Sir Neil Cameron
1978 General Sir Charles Jones
1979 General Sir Edwin Bramall
1980 Countess Mountbatten of Burma
1981 General Sir Patrick Howard-Dobson
1982 General Sir Stewart Pringle
1983 General Sir John Stanier
1984 Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Williamson
1985 Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt
1986 Major Edmund de Rothschild
1987 Marshal of the RAF Sir John Grandy
1988 Commandant A Larken WRNS
1989 General Sir Edward Burgess
1990 General Sir Martin Farndale
1991 HRH The Duke of Kent
1992 Marshal of the RAF Lord Craig
1993 Admiral Sir Derek Reffell
1994 General Sir Peter de la Billiere
1995 Vice Admiral Sir Geoffrey Dalton KCB
1996 Major Edmund L de Rothschild CBE TD
1997 Field Marshal Sir John Chapple GCB CBE DL
1998 Field Marshal The Lord Vincent GBE KCB DSO
1999 The Countess Mountbatten of Burma CBE CD JP DL (D ST.J)
2000 Air Marshal Sir Roger Austin KCB AFC FRAeS RAF (Retd)
2001 General The Lord Guthrie GCB LVO OBE
2002 Admiral Sir Michael Boyce GCB OBE ADC
2003 General Sir Michael Rose KCB DSO CBE QGM DL
2004 HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT
2005 Field Marshal the Lord Bramell KG GCB MC JP
2006 Major General Paul R Newton CBE MPhil
2007 Air Marshal Ian Macfadyen CB OBE FRAeS
2008 Admiral The Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC
2009 Brigadier Allan Julius (Rtd)
2010 Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton KCB ADC BSc FRAeS CCMI RAF
2011 Rear Admiral David Steel CBE BA FCIPD Barrister-at-Law
2012 General Sir Nicholas Houghton GCB CBE ADC Gen.
2013 HRH Prince Michael of Kent
Excerpt, from about 24minutes in...
Horrocks: I do want to turn to one last Conference. Because I don't think we could leave the war without mentioning the Russians.
Alanbrooke: Couldn't possibly!
H: Now in August, the 13th I think it was, Sir Winston Churchill and you both landed in Moscow, for that Moscow Conference with Stalin. I remember Sir Winston described it in his book as the sullen, sinister Bolshevik State. There it is. There are those two figures, famous world figures: Sir Winston and Joe Stalin. [pauses for film clip] Titanic figures! Now, he, Sir Winston in his book described the opening of that Conference - I think the words used were "bleak". Can you describe it to us?
A: I could, I could certainly describe it. They were even more than 'bleak' when we arrived in there. You must remember we were not on a very good wicket. We were going there to inform Stalin there was not going to be a Western front that year. The whole pressure he'd been exercising was to produce a Western front to relieve the straits he was in. It was impossible to have one yet, at that time there and we met in a room which reminded me rather more of a railway station waiting room. The only picture was Lenin looking down at us.
We started our arguments and after we'd been going for a short while, then Stalin started putting the pressure on and he deliberately, I think, started being rude to Winston and through his interpreter he said: 'Are you never going to start fighting? We've been fighting a long time now while you've been looking on' - forgetting he was fighting on the wrong side to start with - and em 'Are you never going to start fighting? You'll find it's not too bad if you start', and so on.
Well, you can imagine what the effect of that was on Winston ...
H: I can, yes.
A: ... and he started off with a most wonderful oration, with a crash on the table with his fists and he started off and his first line was: 'If it wasn't for the fighting qualities shown by the Red Army at Stalingrad …' and then he went on the same class, ' … I'd tell you what I think of the whole lot of you.'
Well Stalin, who was smoking his bent pipe of his, by that time stood up and he had a broad grin on his face. And he stood up just about there and stopped Winston's interpreter and he sent back through his: "I don't understand what you're saying but by god I like your sentiment."
H: Very good.
A: I'm quite certain that that first clash there gave both those two men an opportunity of getting to know each other and to access that one quality which they both possessed - that quality of bulldog determination to hang on.
H: It was rather a fine effort to go there, cos I mean there was no need was there, to go?
A: No need at all. It was a marvellous effort to go there: to straight in there, and to go into the lion's den practically and tell the lion we weren't going to feed him. Practically what he did do. And it was not a popular move but they - the meeting finished on a very good footing. They had an excellent Goodbye party, the two of them.
H: An all night party.
A: An all night party. He left there - he went to see him at seven o'clock and left I think it was three o'clock in the morning.
H: And went straight to the aircraft without going to bed?
A: And went straight to the aircraft and we left at four o'clock that morning.
H: And he was 67 years of age. Isn't it astonishing?
H: Could you just give your impression of Stalin? I'd love that.
A: Well Stalin impressed me tremendously, not only from that meeting there; I had several other meetings with him afterwards. I used to put him down as entirely ruthless, for one thing, entirely ruthless character; terrific strength of character but, added to that, astounding ability.
As a strategist he astounded me. I never saw him put a foot wrong, once, in any of the discussions and he handled all the strategic matters himself. I even saw him go further than that and at a later Conference, when we were discussing the entry of Japan into the war, where he pushed aside his technicians and took it on from them, and discussed matters like railway capacities and the former Russia-Japanese war - which he'd definitely read carefully and which he knew - and from those drew his deductions.
I trust that with your involvement in the forum, you will learn of the great contribution of Field Marshal Alanbrooke to the winning of the 1939 /45 war..and that one day perhaps - it will dawn
on you that prior to December 1941 - Britain was well on her way to LOSING that war by following a less than a Master Strategist's ideas on how to win anything - and I refer to W.S. Churchill and his
even less of a strategist assistant Anthony Eden..who cost us dearly with their ideas on stopping Germany in Greece and Crete...
It is not known as to why Churchill made Alanbrooke C.I.G.S. but it was the best decision he ever made… after that promotion it took just eight months for Alanbrooke's changes to strategy to
become effective - in the only areas we were at that time fighting - after the debacle of the Gazala Gallop at a small rail station of El Alamein by his best known student..from that point in October
1942 ..Britain and by then assisted by the vast production of the USA turned the war around…..despite the many offers of advice by others less gifted such as " the best way to win this war inside
nine months is to load a few divisions on the Eastern Seaboard - sail across the Atlantic - land at - say Cherbourg - drive across to Berlin - war over "
Alanbrooke took at least five seconds to say that " you may be correct in saying that the war will be finished inside nine months - but perhaps in not the same way as we are planning "
sums up his greatness - as he knew the strength of the enemy - and how it needed to be whittled down before any large scale assault took place- and they were whittled down in the desert -
Tunisia- Algeria - Sicily and Italy before D Day could realistically happen.
So instead of berating everything - try reading and listening to others who were part of that new strategy on their way to the victory….so mouth shut - ears and eyes open - best way to learn - or I'll
set Diane onto you..you won't last long…
Interesting Contemporary Spectator piece on Bryant's treatment of the diaries:
Spectator Archive: Alanbrooke and Churchill A Study in Contrast
By LORD TEMPLEWOOD
Some Para-related Alanbrooke clippings on Paradata:
And an official portrait:
I'm not questioning his qualities. As far as I know Alenbrooke was the only one (for the public; through his diaries) to criticise Churchill's plans.
For that alone (against the general public's opinion) he is a hero.
But for a memorial, one that is respectful and correct, it should stick to his proven accomplishments, not fantasy (titles).
so, a list of his military titles..is a good begin.
And perhaps something, somewhere where he was personally responsible/accountable for. "Winning the battle of....".
And then you realise that being at the CIGS, working behind the scenes with Churchill and statesmen like Stalin (on few accounts)...there isn't much you could put his mark/stamp on.
"preparations for the G-J-S beaches in Normandy ?", "selecting invasion of Italy in stead of pre-dating invasion of Normandy ?", "denying invasion of Yuguslavia" ?
Being "the CIGS 1941-1946 " should cover all of that ...and not this fantasy title "master of strategy".
It's a flattering title ..and that should not be cemented in stone (okay for a book , or a paper..but not a memorial).
Like when you'd die you'd rather see on your stone "Henry, husband of Jenny, father of johnny and cecile".. and not "Henry , the greatest father on earth, the sweetest man on earth"...It's not done to have that next to all other daddies.
As you guys have his diary can you point out where was his most significant accomplishment ?
(For instance I read that Chuchill understood that Greece had to be invaded in 45 to avoid it getting under communist control..Alenbrooke was against it because he found it to be a waste of military effort and resources....failing thus to see the political aspects of the opportunity....and
what about the raid on Dieppe? what was Alenbrooke's role in that ?...what about the fall of Malaysia and Singapore early 1942..was the CIGS responsible for that war theatre ?).
Being smart and giving good opposition against suicide plans is one thing, but there were many more smart people like that , I'm sure.
But what was the most creative accomplishment of him that through strategic thinking led to winning the war earlier ?
For all I know, "strategic" thinking comes easy once the war materials come in high production from the USA, the intelligence has cracked the enemies (all 3) codes, and the enemy is loosing men and material fast.
Separate names with a comma.